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An interview with classic car photographer, Amy Shore

Date: 19 April 2019
Author: Clasiq

Amy Shore is a UK based automotive photographer who lives and breathes cars. You could almost say that she was born to be involved in cars in some way or another. Amy’s father worked for Team Lotus in the 1980s as a wind tunnel modeller and then forged a further career in classic sports car restoration after he left. So, an appreciation of automotive aesthetics is clearly in the family.

Amy got her first car when she was 19, a classic Mini. Never one for horsepower, Amy is more interested in how the car makes her feel. Amy is also into bikes rides a ‘72 Honda and three BSA’s. She is also the Nikon UK Ambassador, enjoys guest lecturing and helping people to become a better photographer. Her words of wisdom for improving your photography? Just relax.

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Can you work on cars? “I can work on a car to a certain extent. When I go on my road trips I need to know a certain amount as when I’m on my own I need to be able to look after myself, take responsibility. I’ve got enough to know how bad the situation is let’s put it that way. You have to listen to the car, you need to know what engine is telling you and what it is asking for.”

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Why do people drive classics? “People feel a need for control and responsibility. When I’m driving my mini and it’s a nice day on nice roads, it’s the absolute joy of having music going and just driving. It’s a raw feeling, you don’t feel like your being looked after. You’re really connected to a classic car whereas in a new Bentley you don’t feel like that. If you do a road trip in an autonomous car will it contain the same sense of adventure? No, obviously not.”

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How does it feel to be a woman in classic cars? “Being a woman in classic cars was a ‘thing’ when I got into cars about 10 years ago. The owner of the shop would struggle to talk to me for example. The way that I always managed it was to draw the focus back to their and my favorite thing — cars. You do sometimes get treated differently. For example, at a famous British car event which I won’t name — I was asked to move back from somewhere because I was taking photos, but the guy in front of me doing exactly the same thing wasn’t. I believe in equality, I’ll accept help if I need it, from a man or a woman.”

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Is it beneficial or detrimental to be a woman in the car world? In the beginning, no one trusted me, not even women which hurt more, to be honest. However, truthfully, I feel that being a woman has, in the long run, helped me more than it has hindered me. Because I am more memorable. Because there are by far fewer women in the car world I became ‘that girl who takes pictures of cars’ which has really helped my career.”

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Have you ever had a guy come in as the “savior”? “Yes. I don’t know if they come over because they think it’s the right thing to do or if they actually know what to do! I do think people come over just because I am a woman sometimes. And if you do actually need help I’ve found it helpful to have a kind of guard up that says “I’m cool with this but I do need help” rather than appearing weak. I feel that you need to prove that you can put up with a lot more shit as a woman than maybe a man might have to.”

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How are women portrayed to you in the car world? “Woman can be considered weak and stupid and be perceived as having a lack of knowledge or interest. Sometimes the assumption is that if you are a woman and you’re not racing cars and winning then who are you?

This assumption is total rubbish. The women you see in the car world are often racing drivers, mechanics, engineers, and enthusiasts themselves! It’s a shame that there’s easily still an element of judging a book by its cover in the car world, where very few actually read the book.”

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Do men and women have different tastes in cars? “No, there’s no real difference in gender, taste is more age-related in my opinion. The young like the supercars, the older people like what they emotionally have ties to. It’s not about gender really in terms of what men and women like. It’s more where someone’s passion for cars first came from.”

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What stories do you like to tell through photography? “It’s the relationship between the car and the person. What evokes the emotions in me is the love that people have for their cars and the connection they have for it. What I also try to portray in my work is to stop people getting stuck in their ways and go out and explore the world. Doing it in a classic car feels like fun. It’s one of the easiest, most liberating ways to get out into the world. Getting my lycra on and jumping on a bike doesn’t do it for me, it just doesn’t excite me.”

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Who are your inspirations? “Don McCullan is one of my inspirations. He has an old camera, a bunch of old rolls and he just shoots. Laurent Nivalle is a huge inspiration in terms of car photography, his work in unparalleled. Quirina Louwman is a super strong and an amazing racing driver and she’s married to another racing prolific driver, James Wood. One other would be Maria Costello who is an amazing motorcycle racer, the only female in her discipline, she said you have to be very thick skinned to make it as a woman in this space.”

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There are some other women who are working in my field, working in a similar way to me, who you should check out: Kat, @motherofcars on Instagram is a good friend of mine and produces some great work. Sophie Charman @1sophiews is a brilliant automotive writer and petrolhead.”

What % of your IG audience is female? “11%”

Amy’s Instagram page is well worth a follow: https://www.instagram.com/amyshorephotography/ as his her excellent website where her prints are available for purchase: https://amyshorephotography.com.

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